The city of Taroudant is a very pleasant surprise. All the things I had heard about it beforehand were spot on: “little Marrakech”; wonderful climate the year round; authentic; friendly…. I had never been here before but by now I am able to tell you that it is indeed wonderful to stay here for a couple of days and explore the city and its surroundings. But, of course, you will also have to sleep! Tucked away in a small alley in the medina I found you Marc and Zahia’s home: Dar Zahia.

Time and again, I am surprised by the contrast between the cluttered streets of the medina, the ancient walled city, and the completely different world that is hidden behind the doors of the traditional houses. This is also the case at Dar Zahia. Wow, this is an extraordinary Local Hideaway! It is an oasis of tranquillity, serenity and harmony. I am deeply in awe of all the beauty surrounding me. The two patios, that form the lifeline of the house, are full of gorgeous plants, flowers and pots and the small plunge pool calls for a refreshing dip. There are only four rooms. The two ground floor rooms have wonderful beds and en suite tadelakt (Moroccan plaster) bathrooms. They share a separate toilet room  in the hallway. The first floor rooms also have wonderful beds and share a beautiful bathroom and separate toilet room. Throughout the house are various communal lounge areas for guests to relax and read. The stunning roof terrace is perfect for spending lovely evenings and early mornings. When darkness falls and all the candles and lanterns are lit, the atmosphere is truly magical.

What is most striking is the enormous eye for detail that is evident throughout the house: in the lights, the doors, the works of art; endless care and attention was paid to the design. As a result, without seeming like an exhibition of beautiful things, the atmosphere is very balanced and cosy. Of course, this is hardly surprising, considering the fact that Marc is a renowned art director in France and Zahia also has a background in arts. But in addition to the beautiful sober interior design , let me tell you about the hospitality I received. For Marc and Zahia simply can’t do enough for you, and boy, do they pamper their guests! For instance, on my first evening there, their fabulous cook (the best in Taroudant) prepared me a wonderful tajine dinner ….when I close my eyes I can still taste the refined flavours! Also, Zahia knows all the best places to visit in town and she showed me around . Very handy in case you need to go shopping, for she knows where to go and what are reasonable prices.  The great thing about  Dar Zahia is that you really feel like you’re visiting friends instead of complete strangers. Quite a refreshing change from the impersonal hotels you find around the world.

In the meantime, Marc and Zahia are keeping busy. Just outside the city they own a fantastic garden with a large swimming pool, where you can spend lovely afternoons.  They are working hard on a promising new project here, which, hopefully, I will be able to tell you more about very soon! And then the time came for me to say goodbye to this inspiring place, this ‘home away from home’ in a wonderfully relaxed city. A bientôt!

Do you want to find out more about Morocco? Read my blog ‘Mighty Morocco’.

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